By Devdutt Pattanaik

Telecast on July 24,2010

Ramayana, for me, is a very complex epic and I am dismayed at how simplistically it is presented by many storytellers. It deals with fundamental issues of humanity such as property. What is property, I wonder? It is not a natural concept. It is a human construct, and it has shaped human history in dramatic ways. The Ramayana wonders if Ayodhya belongs to Ram or Ram belongs to Ayodhya. What defines Ram? Is it his royalty? He is fettered to the laws of the Raghu clan, but does he derive his self-image from it? Where does our self-image come from? The gap between who we really are and what we derive our identity from is quite stark when we read the Ramayana. Also stark is the relationship between Ram and Laxman. Is the point of existence loyalty or dharma? Are they not one and the same? Loyalty, one realizes, is materialistic virtue, not spiritual virtue. But why?

Segment 2: Self and Self Image

Segment 3: Loyalty or Dharma

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